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City's Poor Neighborhoods Also the Most Charitable, Study Shows

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The poorest borough in the New York City is also the most charitable, according to a new study.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that in the Bronx, where the median discretionary income is $30,890, residents spend 8.3 percent of their disposable income on charitable contributions.

In Brooklyn, where the median is $32,964, residents spent 7.8 percent of disposable income on giving.

The report used government data to come up with the cost of living in specific zip codes then subtracted those expenses to come up with a neighborhood's discretionary income.

Marilyn Gelber, president of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, said people with less money tend to give to issues in their immediate surroundings.

“In a more intimate community setting away from maybe high rises in Manhattan you feel more connected to local community and local issues and that might encourage you to give more locally,” Gelber said.

Residents who live in the 11233 zip code, which covers parts of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, contributed 16.4 percent of discretionary income to charity compared to the 4.1 percent given by residents of tony Soho and Tribeca in Manhattan.

But many of these richer neighborhoods give much more in actual dollars.  

In Manhattan, where the median discretionary income was just under $51,000 annually, residents gave 5 percent of earnings to charity. But Manhattan tops the other boroughs in total dollar amount with $3.5 billion given total.

The Bronx gave $261.8 million while Brooklynites gave $1.1 billion.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a D.C. based news publication for non-profits and grant makers, analyzed 2008 tax returns to come up with its analysis. It excluded people making less than $50,000 a year and those who do not itemize deductions.

Nationwide, the Upper East Side gave the most in the country — $457.9 million in 2008 or 8.1 percent of discretionary income.

The area that gave the least was Far Rockaway, Queens. Charitable contributions there totaled $94,881 or 10.3 percent of the area’s income.

One zip code in midtown Manhattan gave zero contributions but was ignored because it covered to small of an area and included only 23 tax returns.

By far the zip code that gave the largest percentage of discretionary income to charity was 10031 which includes Hamilton Heights in Manhattan. According to the study, residents there gave just over 57 percent of earnings to charity.

Click here to see the complete map on charitable giving.

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